“Fair Is Foul, And Foul Is Fair”: The Trump Trial Turns Into Shakespearean Tragedy

It seems that Shakespeare is the rage in the second impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.  When House managers were forced to take down the words of House manager Rep. David Cicilline (D., R.I.) after Sen. Mike Lee (R., Utah) denounced them as false, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D., Md) declared “this is much ado about nothing.”   Then Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) characterized the entire trial as “reminiscent of Shakespeare [in] that it is full of sound and fury, and yet signifying nothing.”  MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell, however, missed the Bard memo and triumphantly declared that Cruz was wrong and mocked him with a tweet “@SenTedCruz says #ImpeachmentTrial is like Shakespeare full of sound and fury signifying nothing. No, that’s Faulkner.” She was joined in the effort by the Washington Post’s columnist Jennifer Rubin. In our age of rage, it appears that “Fair is foul, and foul is fair”… and Shakespeare is Faulkner and Faulkner is Shakespeare.

Mitchell’s mocking tweet met with scathing responses that including from Cruz who declared “Methinks she doth protest too muchOne would think NBC would know the Bard. Andrea, take a look at Macbeth act 5, scene 5: ‘[Life] struts & frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more. It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound & fury, Signifying nothing.'”

Yet, the telling of this tale was supported by Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin, who wrote, “and it says volumes about his lack of soul. That’s Any Thinking Person.”

Rubin has not confined her view of the “soulless” to Cruz. She has previously called for the expulsion of anyone who challenged the electoral votes of Joe Biden and to “burn down” the Republican party. (For full disclosure, I clashed with Rubin over her personally attacking me for a theory that I did not agree with in a column that I did not write. I also challenged her on an equally bizarre column where she wrote about my impeachment testimony and later column misrepresenting the holding in an appellate case involving Trump. That false account was never corrected the Washington Post.)  Given Rubin’s controversial history of misrepresenting both testimony and actual court opinions, the Bard could hardly expect any exception. She is an example of the concern stated in MacBeth of whether we can ever return to reasonable commentary “Or have we eaten on the insane root, That takes the reason prisoner?”

For the record, Faulkner’s book “The Sound and the Fury” was a reference to Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

I am actually sympathetic to Mitchell. We are all working in the hair-trigger environment of social media and 24-hour news. We all make mistakes, particularly with Twitter. It happens. Moreover, despite the words of Lady MacBeth, it is not true that “What’s done cannot be undone.” Mitchell apologized and tweeted “I clearly studied too much American literature and not enough Macbeth.”

100 thoughts on ““Fair Is Foul, And Foul Is Fair”: The Trump Trial Turns Into Shakespearean Tragedy”

  1. And yet you fail to see the glaring hole in your own untenable defense. You want people to pretend like you that we didn’t hear the sarcasm in his voice when he said to do it “peacefully”, that unlike any individual over 7 we didn’t know what he meant when he said to “fight like hell” or that somehow he meant to be peaceful the one time he said it smirking but the TWENTY times he instructed them to fight in the same speech, …that he meant something else.

    1. Ah, so we are now going to convict people of crimes based on your subjective determination that there is sarcasm in their voices.

      The left is bat$hit crazy.

      Didn;t you have enough with the dogwhitsles nonsense ?

      When those on the right are sending coded messages to each other that only those on the left can hear.
      The problem is on the left.

      The rest of us would gladly ship you all off to your utopia in Oceania, where you can engage in your daily two minutes of hate ritual.

      But leave the rest of us out of it.

      And expect that if you continue to try to drag us there by FORCE – that we will resist by FORCE.

    2. So anyone using the word fight is inciting violence ?

      Please watch the video presented by Trump’s defence team of the hundreds of times prominent democrats have publicly told their alcolytes to “fight”.

      ‘If They Bring a Knife to the Fight, We Bring a Gun’
      Pres. Obama

      “If we were in high school, I’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.”
      Joe Biden

  2. One of the (many) reasons I won’t apply for Jeopardy is that I am afraid that there may be a question as follows:
    He is known to have uttered the phrase “alas poor Yorick, I knew him well”, and I will buzz in with glee to respond…”who is Moe Howard of the Three Stooges”. I have always feared having Alex say, “ooh no sorry, we were going for Hamlet.

    My remembering the Stooges saying the line during my childhood fascination with the three knuckleheads is as sagacious and Andrea Mitchell and Jennifer Rubin’s moronic take on Cruz’s quote. The difference is that if I had been on Jeopardy I would not have been trying to snidely and pretentiously insult someone due to their politics, I would have been just trying to win a (high level) game show.

  3. Mitchell and Rubin and Blitzer and Wallace and the rest of the rest of their Tribe that run the media should have retired long ago

  4. It’s a shame Cruz left out the preface “…a tale told by an idiot (or in this case idiots)”. And I, for one, will be delighted when they are heard no more.

    One can only hope.

  5. You’re sympathetic? Really?

    Our sixth-grade class had to memorized and recite this soliloquy. It’s basic stuff with which any moderately-educated person should be familiar.

    If Cruz had started with “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow…” would this beef-witted placket have said this is not Shakespeare but Vonnegut?

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